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Volkswagen Cases Transferred to Judge Charles Breyer

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Elizabeth Cabraser Volkswagen

Elizabeth Cabraser is a top class action attorney located in San Francisco.

Yesterday the Judicial Panel on Multudistrict Litigation consolidated and transferred over 500 defective Volkswagen emissions cases, filed by consumers, car dealers and others in over 60 federal jurisdictions, to the Northern District of California and Judge Charles Breyer’s court. The cases allege that Volkswagen engaged in deceptive and unfair trade practices, while at the same time violating environmental laws as well as EPA and CARB regulations. Over 480,000 Volkswagens in the United States are equipped with the emissions defeat device and more than 11 million vehicles worldwide.

The JPML cited numerous reasons for the selection of the San Francisco venue out of 27 competing courts:

“California is the State with the most affected vehicles and dealers, where significant testing of affected vehicles occurred, and the home of the California Air Resources Board, which played an important initial role in investigating and, ultimately, revealing VW’s use of the defeat devices … While any number of transferee districts could ably handle this litigation, we are persuaded that, in these circumstances, the Northern District of California is the appropriate transferee district for this litigation. There are 30 actions pending in the Northern District of California, including the first-filed case in the nation, and plaintiffs have filed a total of 101 cases in the state of California – nearly a fifth of all cases filed nationwide.”

Read the Transfer Order in the Volkswagen case, MDL 2672.

Read the Transfer Order in the Volkswagen case, MDL 2672.

Other districts that were considered included the Central, Eastern and Southern Districts of California; the Northern and Southern Districts of Illinois; the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York; the Northern and Southern Districts of Ohio; the Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of Tennessee; and the Northern District of Alabama, the District of Arizona, the District of the District of Columbia, the District of Kansas, the Western District of Kentucky, the Eastern District of Louisiana, the District of Massachusetts, the District of Minnesota, the District of New Jersey, the Northern District of Texas and the Western District of Washington. Most observers, including this one, left last week’s JPML hearing in New Orleans with the distinct impression that the cases would be transferred to the Easter District of Michigan, a court both the EPA and Volkswagen lobbied for. Other front runners included the Eastern District of Virginia, the District of New Jersey and the District of Columbia.

Steve Berman Volkswagen

Steve Berman of Seattle is well known in multidistrict litigation circles.

In selecting Judge Breyer, the JPML described him as “a jurist who is thoroughly familiar with the nuances of complex, multidistrict litigation by virtue of having presided over nine MDL dockets, some of which involved numerous international defendants.”

Other factors likley impacting the Panel’s decision were arguments made by some of the Nation’s top class action litigators, including Steve Berman of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP in Seattle and San Francisco’s Elizabeth Cabraser of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP. Berman and Cabraser both advocated for transfer to the Northern District of California and have been involved in many of the trial bar’s landmark MDLs over the past few decades.

Judge Breyer issued Pretrial Order No. 1 today setting December 22, 2015 for the Initial Conference. Attorneys not attending may listen to the proceedings by calling  (866) 582-6878 not later than 5:00 p.m. on December 21, 2015. Applications for appointment to the Plaintiffs Steering Committee are due January 8, 2016 with a hearing regarding same on January 21, 2016. The court has set a website to keep the public informed at cand.uscourts.gov/crb/vwmdl.

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  1. Lloyd says:
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    Is VW going to put out a diesel model for 2016 ?

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